Uncertainty on the Horizon for UK Processing Crop Production, Shows BP2019 Seminar
Early figures suggest a potato production level of around 5.1 million tons for the UK, AHDB has revealed during the Production Estimate Live! seminar BP2019, which took place between November 20-21 in Harrogate, the UK.
The estimate is based on an average yield of close to 45 tons a hectare and takes into account losses of just over 3% at this stage. However, AHDB’s most recent lifting report estimated that there was still 11% of the crop left in the ground by November 12. How much of this will come out of the ground is uncertain and it is likely that an increase in the area lost will be recorded.
The situation is likely to be the worst for processing crops with the hardest hit areas in the North of England and York/Humber holding 30% of the UK’s processing crop. Compared to the same time last year, the country had a production level of 4.918 million tons.
Production Estimate Live! was just one of the knowledge-sharing seminars that were available at BP2019, an event which was successful in bringing the full supply chain together from seed to supermarket.
“Despite difficult harvesting conditions in the UK, at a time when we expected that a lot of growers might be staying away because there is still a lot of harvesting to be done, the vast majority of the UK potato industry has attended the event. We had a great more deal of exhibitors than we have previously, and we had lots of our regular exhibitors, as well. We also welcomed one in five new exhibitors and we’re getting a large amount of positive feedback about the business they done here over the two days at the show,” revealed Carla Lowndes, one of the organizers of the event, for Potato Business.
Trade Show Highlights
Over the span of two days, BP2019 was the platform for many interesting launches. For example, root crop machinery specialist Grimme UK announced a partnership with Lincoln-based Agri-tech company HarvestEye Ltd to deliver the latter’s technology to the potato industry.
HarvestEyeTM is a UK patented technology that provides insight on size, count and crop variation on unwashed potatoes as they are harvested. The integrated data analytics shows precisely what is being lifted and from where in the field. Providing greater field level information that conventional sampling, this insight will help users maximize yield and reduce crop imbalance.
“Innovation is what drives our industry and our company. We believe HarvestEyeTM will offer UK growers and packers a significant advantage of providing advanced, real-time insights as the crop is harvested. Not to mention the longer-term agronomic value and the detailed data produced by the system. The fact that it can be retrofitted to new and used harvesters and graders makes HarvestEyeTM the ideal product to completement our machinery,” said Patrick Graf Grote, managing director of Grimme UK.
Elsewhere on the show’s grounds, Welvent showed its new energy saving air mixing units with green credentials. The packaged Welvent unit has been around for over 25 years, however, there have been some design changes and the new modern unit uses a second refrigerant 33% Glycol. The compressor is linked to a heat exchanger cooling the Glycol which only requires 25% of the refrigerant charge. This helps make future servicing potentially cheaper. The design also allows for simpler changes of refrigerant, if they become necessary, as the F-Gas regulations change over the potential 30-year life of the unit.
BP2019 was the platform that Tong chose to kickstart its 90th Anniversary celebrations. With engineering roots dating back to 1930, the company has grown into a well-known manufacturer of grading, washing, polishing, processing and box handling equipment with more than 165 employees and a new state-of-the-art production facility scheduled for completing in Spring 2020.
“The British Potato Exhibition is always a very well-attended evet and gave us the perfect opportunity to meet with our customers and discuss our equipment advances with those looking to maximize the performance of their handling processes in 2020,” explained Edward Tong, managing director at Tong Engineering.
Additionally, chairman Charles Tong added that the anniversary celebrations highlight the company’s ongoing commitment to the industry to invest in the latest technological advancements, whether that is in progressive equipment controls or modern drive systems that have become indispensable in meeting the demands of the firm’s customers, their customers, and the end consumer.
BP will return in 2021 in Harrogate. The event will be hosted by the Yorkshire Event Center between November 24-25.
More information about BP2019 will be available in our print magazine Potato Processing International (November/December 2019), coming out soon!